Heroic Diplomacy: Sadat, Kissinger, Carter, Begin and the Quest for Arab-Israeli Peace

Heroic Diplomacy: Sadat, Kissinger, Carter, Begin and the Quest for Arab-Israeli Peace

Heroic Diplomacy: Sadat, Kissinger, Carter, Begin and the Quest for Arab-Israeli Peace

Heroic Diplomacy: Sadat, Kissinger, Carter, Begin and the Quest for Arab-Israeli Peace

Synopsis

For reasons of national security, official public records surrounding Americas involvement in the Arab-Israeli negotiations remain unavailable. Heroic Diplomacy provides an unequalled insight into the internal divisions and untold stories of the peace process. Covering an extraordinary range of first-hand accounts from over eighty bureaucrats, diplomats and military leaders who participated in Arab-Israeli peace talks from 1973 to 1978 the book charts the complex and often contradictory goals of Egypt, Israel, Jordan, the US and the USSR.

Excerpt

After Israel's establishment in May 1948, the Arab world refused to make peace with the new Jewish state. Though Arab states signed armistice agreements with Israel in 1949, a technical state of war remained in effect. Attempts to sign formal peace agreements between Israel and Jordan, and Israel and Syria continually failed, and no Palestinian Arab-Israeli accommodation was seriously considered. The states were locked into a catch-22 situation: Israel would not allow Palestinian refugees to return to the new Jewish state’s territory until Arab states recognized it diplomatically; Arab states would not recognize Israel until Israel allowed Palestinians, displaced by Israel’s creation, to return to their land within the new state. The Arab world saw Israel as an extension of Western imperial presence in the Middle East. It was also a blight on the Arab character and required removal. Egyptian President Nasser cemented an Arab commitment, which endured for two decades, to seek Israel’s destruction. Under pressure to survive in this hostile environment, Israel developed a secure economy, integrated millions of new immigrants, and built an army supported by weapons capable of protecting its national security. For their part, many Arab states, including Egypt, Syria, and Iraq, responded by looking to the Soviet Union for equivalent military hardware. In this manner the cold war further complicated the Arab-Israeli conflict.

In June 1967, mounting tension exploded into war. Without warning, Israel premptively attacked Syria and Egypt, and then Jordan. Israel’s lightening military victories solidified an Arab fear: the unlikelihood of Israel’s destruction. The Arab world responded: “No peace, no recognition, no negotiations with Israel.” But the international community, working with the United Nations, set forth principles that could govern eventual negotiations. Security Council Resolution 242 of November 1967 became a framework for future negotiations. It called for the sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity of all states in the region and a solution to the growing refugee problem, and stated an admissibility of the acquisition of territory through war. Along with this general outline, several negotiating mechanisms were tried, among them third-party mediation, great-power talks, private diplomacy, and secret meetings. As Egypt’s new president in 1970, Anwar

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